SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Sullivan started four seniors in its Class 3 State Softball Semifinal game Friday, three more than Savannah had on its entire roster.
That experience paid off as the Eagles opened up an early lead on their way to a 10-2 win at the Killian Softball Complex in Springfield.
“We’ve got a good future,” Savannah coach Ashley Anderson. This is the deepest postseason run in Savannah’s program history.
The first inning encapsulated the game pretty well. Sullivan’s Kayla Ulrich and Addison Purvis drew back-to-back lead-off walks and later scored on a two-out double by Kloey Blanton.
Savannah also put its first two hitters on base. Kaia Calloway drew a walk and Brookelyn Graves reached in a bunt single. But Purvis struck out the next three batters to end the threat and give Sullivan a 2-0 lead.
It became a 4-0 edge after two, as Sullivan pounced on a throwing error to score two more runs. Savannah, meanwhile, loaded the bases with two outs, but couldn’t find a way to squeeze home a run.
“Sometimes that’s just how it goes,” Anderson said. “We still had good at-bats. I thought the girls swung at good pitches and we faced a good pitcher. That’s just how it falls.”
Sullivan put the game out of reach with a six-run sixth inning rally, sending eight batters to the plate. Ulrich and Payton Counts both came up with two-RBI doubles in the frame.
Savannah got its two runs on two mighty swings. Calloway led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to center. Taijah Davis-Cogdill also had a solo blast, to left field with one out in the sixth.
Junior Kenzie Schopfer took the loss for Savannah, allowing 10 runs on 13 hits. She struck out five. She, like every other Savannah starter, is eligible to return next fall. And they will be better for the experience.
“Being here at this stage and living this out is a good thing,” Anderson said. “Now we just need to work on staying in control and focus enough to take care of business. That’s what we’re going to focus on.”
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The Savages scored four runs in the sixth to overcome a 2-1 deficit and settle for third in Class 3.
Ella Bruner led the way with three hits.
Schopfer struck out eight against seven hits allowed in the complete game.